I needed some mind bleach before I dove into my next true crime book and nothing is a better palate cleanser that young adult science fiction. Colfer can usually be counted on to deliver on that front, but this book was rather humdrum. But Colfer does at least include a bad ass girl and that’s a step above most young adult fiction these days.
The book takes place in the not to distant future. Tactical lawyers help uphold the corporatocracy. Our hero, Cosmo Hill, lives in an orphanage. The orphans are contracted out as human guinea pigs to various companies to test out products. Hill manages to escape and has a near death eletrocution, which causes him to be able to see the Parasites – blue little fetus-like things that seem to feed on human life force. Only a few people have the power to see them. Hill falls in with a group dedicated to fighting the Parasites and plot ensues.
Cosmo obviously falls for the girl member of the group – fast talking Mona that hasn’t met a car she couldn’t hot wire. Stefan runs the group and is a bit too much of the sterotypical brooding, stoic hero. Ditto, the third member, is the result of a genetic experience, so he’s 28, but looks like an Osh-Kosh B’gosh baby model. Through some plot devices, the futuristic Scooby gang gets hooked up with an R and D executive at one of the corporations. She can also see the Parasites and has been conducting secret experiences to find out more about them. She sends the group out on an almost suicide mission to destroy the nest of the Parasites.
But TWIST! Turns out, she knows (and so does Ditto, who just…keeps this to himself for three years for no reason other than another plot contrivance) that the Parasites aren’t really feeding off people, they actually are helping people by feeding off of pain. They also are somehow electric powered or have a charge or some type that evil science lady wants to use to create a nuclear bomb because reasons. In the end, Stefan valiantly sacrifices his life to kill Totally-Not-Poison-Ivy and take out the nuclear reactor bomb making thingy. But TWIST! She survives and the company tells her that they’ll give her a new face and to keep better secrets next time she builds plutonium or something. Which is such a cheap ending and totally negates Stefan’s heroic death.